The African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA), Rainoil Limited and Sahara Group, have called for adoption of cleaner energy options and expansion of energy infrastructure in Africa given the expected huge population growth and associated incremental energy demand.
The three organisations also called for collaboration amongst key stakeholders, sustainable project financing as well as deployment of industry best practices within the continent.
The President of ARDA and DG/CEO of SAR Refinery in Dakar, Senegal, Mme. Marième Ndoye Decraene; Nigeria’s Anibor Kragha, who is the ARDA Executive Secretary; Founder and Group Managing Director of Rainoil Limited, Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie, OON, and the Chief Executive Officer of Egbin Power Plant, Mokhtar Bounour, spoke during series of engagements during the recent visits of the ARDA delegation to Lagos, Nigeria to Rainoil’s world-class LPG facility at Ijegun and Sahara Group’s Egbin Power Plant, a green facility providing gas to power solutions to Nigeria’s power grid.
The ARDA delegation comprised top executives from refineries and storage and distribution companies in Senegal (SAR, SENSTOCK and Elton Oil), Cote d’Ivoire (SIR and SMB), Gabon (SOGARA) and Zambia (Indeni) as well as the Department of Hydrocarbons in the Ministry of Cote d’Ivoire and ARSE, the Downstream regulator in Niger Republic.
Given that the population of Africa, especially Nigeria, is expected to rise significantly over the next few decades, the experts emphasised that enhancing logistics and storage and distribution infrastructure remain critical to ensure that the efforts currently being made to enhance refining of petroleum products on the continent and reduce imports. They also stressed the need to build the requisite human capital that would enable Africa to deliver a sustainable, just energy transition program, which takes various countries’ socio-economic considerations int account.
Mme. Decreane during her remarks, thanked both Sahara Group and Rainoil for granting the ARDA delegation access to their world-class facilities and congratulated them for their impactful investments across the African energy value chain to deliver sustainable energy solutions.
She also thanked both companies, who are ARDA Executive Committee members, for their support to ARDA and stressed that the Association was committed to achieving the common goal of a unique, sustainable African Energy Transition Roadmap.
Dr. Ogbechie, while addressing the delegation noted that the next phase for the continent was to look for collaboration within Africa, adding that his company would be willing to collaborate to drive energy needs in key countries.
He said Rainoil, while making efforts to expand Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) penetration in line with the Nigerian government’s targets, would be open to also reach underserved communities and countries on the continent.
He said, “We seriously believe that LPG is the way to go as the world begins to move towards cleaner fuels and begins to move from fossil fuels or hydrocarbons.
“We need to all begin to look in the direction of gas, which is one of the reasons why about three years ago we went into LPG. We will be happy to look for opportunities in Cote d’Ivoire, opportunities in Senegal, opportunities in Zambia opportunities, Gabon and all the other companies represented on this table.”
Bounour noted that the Sahara Power Group was looking to expand its power infrastructure footprint across Africa, especially in the areas of electricity generation, distribution and transmission, including renewable energy.
He noted the need for green energy to address carbon footprint, adding that their organization plans to increase capacity from the current 940 megawatts (MW) to about 2,000 MW in the near future. According to him, the company has already launched Gree’n’Electric, a Sahara Group initiative aimed at driving sustainability in the power sector. The Sahara group also noted that, since taking over operations, the Ikeja Electric arm of the business has delivered an impressive record of improving operational efficiency, especially in the reduction of aggregate technical and commercial losses.
Kragha, while addressing journalists after the tour of Rainoil LPG facilities in Lagos noted that financing remained key for the development of the downstream segment of the oil and gas industry in Africa. He disclosed that ARDA would be launching two Funds the near future to support bankable projects identified by its Members – one for refinery upgrades to deliver cleaner fuels and reduce carbon emission, storage & distribution infrastructure and petrochemical projects as well as another for LPG sector development to promote LPG adoption across Africa. He commended the efforts being made by Rainoil, noting that the company has enshrined best practices that would be critical to other countries on the continent looking to expand or improve their oil infrastructure, especially in demonstrating to the visitors from other African countries how use of local content to deliver their LPG facility can be replicated for similar infrastructure projects across the continent.
Also commending Sahara Group, Kragha noted that the indigenous company’s ability to deliver superior business results stemmed a strong focus on human capital development as evidence by their excellent presentations on succession planning and building resilience across their business systems made during ARDA’s Virtual Human Capital Workshops over the last two years. In addition to Human Capital, ARDA has six other Work Groups – LPG, Storage & Distribution, Refining & Specifications, HSE & Quality, Sustainable Financing and Regulation – that the Association employs for sharing of best practices amongst its Members, Sponsors Partners and other key stakeholders.